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Court sentences swindler to 11 years in jail

A Shanghai man who pretended to be an "almighty" teacher and swindled 19 people out of nearly 1.3 million yuan (US$206,000) by claiming to help them find jobs and get their children into local schools was sentenced to 11 1/2 years yesterday.

The convict surnamed Feng was also fined 120,000 yuan by the Putuo District People's Court.

Prosecutors said Feng, 53, boasted that he was a college dean to a victim surnamed Zhao who was seeking help to let his son take the college entrance exam in Shanghai because his son was not a registered resident of the city.

Feng said he could help Zhao get a resident permit and Zhao gladly gave him more than 80,000 yuan for doing him favor. But Feng didn't get him the promised permit early last year. As a result, Zhao's son went to his hometown to take the national college entrance exam, and Feng disappeared afterwards.

Prosecutors said Zhao posted his experience on the Internet and discovered he was not the only victim. A lottery ticket seller surnamed Chen read Zhao's post and found the fraudster was the customer who booked more than 10,000 yuan of lottery tickets at his booth but didn't pay in July last year.

Chen contacted Zhao and other victims, and they worked out a plan to catch Feng. Chen sent a text message to Feng telling him that he could write an IOU if he was unable to pay for the lottery tickets.

When Feng showed up at the lottery booth last September, he was caught by the victims and brought to a police station, the prosecutors said.

It turned out that between September 2008 and last year, Feng cheated 19 people out of 1.29 million yuan, pretending to be a school teacher or a policeman with good connections to help them get a local resident permit, admission to a local school, or find a better job.


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